A first-up win at Ballarat over the weekend has Caulfield-based trainer Brendan McCarthy keen to head to the Gold Coast in January with Murt The Flirt for another raid on the famous Magic Millions Race Day in 2016.
The now four-year-old Murtajill gelding ran in his ninth career start on Saturday posting his third win in the $100,000 Magic Millions 3 & 4YO Classic (1100m) by a narrow margin.
Ridden by Chris Symons Murt The Flirt ($5) beat home the Mark Kavanagh-trained favourite Wild Rain ($2.40), coming off a second to The Quarterback in Flemington’s Listed Dilmah Earl Grey Stakes (1000m) in the wet on Crown Oaks Day, by just a short half-head with Illustrious Lad ($9) a similarly close margin away for third.
It was the first winning ride from Symons who missed five months of racing due to injuries after a race fall back in June, and an impressive effort from the horse that impressed McCarthy.
“Especially first-up [it was a great effort], you know they’ve got a bit to improve,” McCarthy told Racing Ahead on RSN on Monday morning.
“Having to do it hard all the way it does make the job a lot more difficult, all the better result to be able to handle it.”
Last November Murt The Flirt won the same Magic Millions restricted race on debut at Ballarat, the event opening up this season to four-year-olds for the first time.
He backed up from that at Wyong in December last year to run 1.6 lengths away sixth to Aerobar in the $100,000 Wyong Magic Millions 3YO Stakes (1200m), and a summer run at Wyong next month on December 17 is again on the agenda for the Queensland-bound galloper who pulled up after his Ballarat win in good order.
“(He) came through really well, there’s going to be no need to back off on him. It’s a big thing when you get through a run so well, and you’re not having to patch them up between runs,” McCarthy said.
The horse has had four previous runs in the Sunshine State including in this year’s Magic Millions 3YO Guineas over 1400m when fifth to Deiheros in the $1 million feature at the Gold Coast Racecourse.
McCarthy will keep Murt The Flirt on the Magic Millions path again this summer including the feature race day at the Gold Coast on January 9 with the most likely target being the $1 million Magic Millions Cup (1400m).
“He got to the Magic Millions so well last year, we were just deadest stiff not to win it. It was just a bad barrier again that day,” he said.
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